UK ‘plans 14-day quarantine for air passengers’

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Man wearing a mask at Heathrow

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British airlines say they have been informed that the government will impose a 14-day quarantine on anyone arriving in the UK from any country outside the Republic of Ireland in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new restriction is expected to take effect at the end of this month.

The industry body, Airlines UK, said the policy needed a “credible exit plan” and should be reviewed weekly.

People arriving in the UK should isolate themselves in a private residence.

Government and aviation sources told BBC News that quarantine would mean people could provide an address at the border.

It is unclear how long the new travel restriction will be in effect and whether non-UK residents will be allowed to stay in rented private accommodation.

“We need to see the details of what they are offering,” said Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, EasyJet and other UK-based airlines, in a statement.

Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst is expected to clarify the policy for airline and airport officials during a conference call scheduled for Saturday morning.

British airports have suggested that a quarantine “would not only have a devastating impact on the British aviation industry, but also on the economy in general.”

Karen Dee of the Airport Operators Association, which represents most UK airports, said the measure should be applied “on a selective basis based on science” and “the economic impact on key sectors should be mitigated” .

BBC News understands that key workers such as truck drivers transporting goods and people working in the shipping industry would be exempt.

Last Sunday, Andrew Marr asked the Secretary of Transportation if the UK would introduce a quarantine on people arriving in the UK.

Grant Shapps said he “is actively looking into these issues right now so that when we have infection rates in the country under control, we don’t matter.”

He said it was important “that we make sure that the sacrifices, in a sense, social distancing, that we ask the British people to make are matched by whoever comes to this country.”

An interior ministry spokesperson said, “We are not commenting on the leaks. The focus remains on staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. “

If quarantine is needed now, some will wonder why it was not needed weeks ago.

Hundreds of thousands of people flew to the United Kingdom during the pandemic, although the government has said that the vast majority return home.

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